THE LISTS OF LIFE


WHAT ARE THESE LISTS...  the long list is the list you started as a youth without even knowing you were making plans for your future. This is the list that does not have to be in writing, keyed in a Blackberry or posted on the calendar.

The long list is about cutting out, shocking the system and coming back unharmed. It is an exceptional adventure sensation we visualize while waiting for a flight at the airport, for the neighbor to turn off the leaf blower, for the light to turn green.

All of the things we monitor in our lives, like the need to have a cavity filled or checking the coolant level is multiplying and that short list is so long we rarely have time to consider the long list.  None of those items will make any difference in ten years, not one.

The short list is a big obstacle in the way of the long list. By the time we get to the long list, we may be crippled by fear, turned into a sofa shouting grumpy cynic or, worse than all the above, we may have forgotten what we wanted.

Waiting too long to start an adventure on the long list is looking at me in the face. It is  September, t128_2887his is the month of change. It  is going to be autumn, and if you live in a seasonal climate, it is going to land on your front porch.  Before the fall is scooped up in garbage bags and placed by the dumpster, my next  adventure is moving to the short list.

SARATOGA SPRINGS  BATTLEFIELD 2010- OFF THE LONG LIST

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POSTCARD FROM IRELAND


It was a day like today, just after the rain soaked every blade of grass, and the world looked squeaky clean as if it had been mopped with God’s soap. I was sleeping in an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar berth on a ferryboat that swayed like a rubber raft. I was awakened by a knock at the door. “Ma’am. We’re here.”  I looked at the young man questionably.“Ireland,” he added and shut the door. “We’re here?” I twisted myself round in the blanket and raised my chin to the porthole.Oh my God– It exists. Look at that tiny little village and the little harbor and the colors.

I landed at the Port of Rosshaven from London where I’d spent two nights in a room the size of a cigarette holder. I loved London as much as I could in two short days; carrying thirty-five pounds of clothes. Part of one day I spent packaging up half my wardrobe to ship back. The plan was to spend one month in Ireland. Other than that, my itinerary was unplanned. In those  days, I leveraged myself to the outskirts of foolery.I gathered my Northface garment duffle, shoulder bag, and departed the ferry.  It was Sept. 5, 1987, and I was thirty-something, recently separated from a career in commercial real estate and my pad in the Bankers Hill neighborhood of San Diego. Everything went into storage so I would be free to conquer whatever it was I thought I was conquering.

That first day I made my  way to the picturesque village of Kinsale. The tourist office made the reservation for me and suggested that I rent a car. No need, I thought. I’d get around on my own for a while. She slapped a map of Ireland on the desk and pointed to several towns and then counted the miles between each town. “The buses stop running in September because all the tourists have gone home. You be wee on your own.” “ Well, I’ll look into it tomorrow. I’ll just get a cab to the Bed and Breakfast tonight.”

That night ended faster than any in my life. I woke up and decided to stay another. I could not part with the warmth of the Innkeeper’s country kitchen and the canary yellow bedroom, or the county road, the red barn and the miles and miles of rollercoaster hills cushioned in that indescribable Irish green. Her house was a quintessential B & B, blushing with the right bedding, Irish linen, French and English antiques and contemporary restaurant-grade kitchen.

I remember the Innkeeper drove a BMW, and her house sparkled as if it had been photographed earlier. That first day I walked into dreamland, and I did not come out until I left Ireland.  This was my first solo trip to Europe. I began with Ireland because my friend, Kenny, insisted I go find the Casey in me. That’s my mother’s maiden name. Everyone thought I should be institutionalized for taking off like I did; mid-career on the rise and all of that.

That first evening I walked into town and ate at the restaurant the Innkeeper recommended. I wish I could remember the name of the place. It’s written in my journal, but the journal is in Taos, NM. Anyway, that dinner still rates in the top ten of all dinners, including all those four-star French Michelin Chateau feasts I found my way to later on in the trip. I hit a dozen villages between Clare, Kerry and Limerick. I took a seaweed bath at the seashore of Ballybunion, stayed in a folk singers

The beach in Ballybunion in Kerry of Ireland.

The beach in Ballybunion in Kerry of Ireland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

luxury hotel for a week because he wanted me to bring his tape back to America, attended an Irish wedding and the racetrack in Dublin. I watched the Farmers Matchmaking Festival in Lisdoonvarna and climbed the hill to the Cliffs of Mohr.  On my hike up to the cliffs, I passed a man gardening in his front yard. He stopped and began to chat. His house was so beautifully Irish, handcrafted in brick and stone with acres of fertile land as his back yard. I told him it was the most beautiful home I had ever seen. He turned around in his rubber boots, leaned against his pitchfork, and said, “America, that’s where I want to go.” He said he would give me his house if I would take him with me. We talked for a long time about what matters, and as we parted I remember what he said, “Send me a postcard from America.”


Travel Bloggers Set my Sails.


JEWISHCUBA.ORG
JEWISHCUBA.ORG

I’ve been staying in a hotel during a short interim while my house is rented. It is not the most profitable venture, but it does bring some extra cash into my pocket.

{Photo credit http://www.JewishCuba.org}

While I am in the hotel observing guests; their mannerism, conversations, and facial expressions, I have come to the conclusion we are not only on a fiscal cliff we are on a sinking shore of wet sand. I do not see these guests who’ve come for Spring break and skiing, lapping up the Southwest serenity. I see glum faces and sluggish bodies weighted down by heavy tote bags, and they seem to shuffle like the very old or weak, from the pathway to the lobby. I am not excluded; by the time I checked into the hotel, my body was withered from house work and preparation. All I wanted to do was sink into a bed and hang the Do Not Disturb notice on the door. Why has our vitality sunk into the sand? Are we suffering from too much information, too many alerts, too many scandals, too much uncertainty that the adventure in livingness has turned into misadventures.

In reading the WordPress posts, I’ve discovered the Travel blogs are the ones that revive my interest in the world I haven’t seen. These are the ones I read because they strike my flame for travel instead of of comfort and complacency. Cuba has been stirring in my imagination ever since I discovered Cuban Salsa, about twenty-five years ago! Thanks to you travel bloggers, I made the decision. This is the year for CUBA. Now that it’s written, I must follow my word.

ROAMING TO THE UNKNOWN


When I look beyond the quarry of my own chains and tough rowing as a writer, to that glorious painting that transforms every day, as if the sky was a Puccini scarf; of fuchsia, tangerine and turquoise, my soul is nourished.

Santa Fe is star power, and can shower your life with photographic moments on the half-hour. Like any city, village, or town you have some culture to conform to, or else you won’t be taken seriously.
In Los Angeles, I learned you have to be able to put on slapstick phoniness to get a conversation going with a stranger. Here in Santa Fe, amongst us Anglos, the advantages come if you are believably bohemian, liberal, quietly subsidized comfortably retired and artistic.

I don’t score well, and my direction is following Lawrence Durrell, Spirit of the Place, and living where you would never expect to live. I wish I could control my impractical, impulsive and annoying spirit of adventure. I think about cities of high rises and Jewish deli’s, at least five movie theaters built in the early 30’s, and neighborhoods of discovery. I just can’t give up the comfort of cocooning with humanity.

I long for the city, just as when I was thirty, all I ever talked about was SANTA FE. I lead a confusing life.

PHONE PICS 164

VOYAGES WITHIN & WITHOUT


I live in a temporary tide-pool, a lily floating against the current, weighted down by a suit of armor that shields me from the beauty, love and freedoms stirring in my bud.

The throw of the dice this week lands on a quote from the archives of my peculiarity-clipping folder.   I don’t know if this is branded in a writer’s genes, or simply another trivial pursuit to aid us in remembering things, that at the time we feel we need to remember, but we are not sure why.  Being a clipper means that nothing in print is safe in our presence.  We cannot resist the impulse to possess particular images and words, and usually without any logical reason. Once we have retrieved the clipping, we file it in a folder or notebook. The clippings do not age well and after 10 years, they are yellowed with torn, frayed edges.  They are rarely plucked from their binding burials and given present day meaning because they live in the bottom of trunks, or in storage units, and are difficult to get our hands on.   Since I discovered a clipping several weeks ago I’ve been investigating the connection between clippings and destiny.  I stopped being a savage clipper in 2002.

I opened up this one journal from 1988, and reading the pages, I came across the quote that propelled me into adventures in livingness. It came from Theater Critic, Kenneth Tynan, from a magazine article he wrote.  It was a personal essay and the line that beamed through me like a telekinetic force was ,   “Adventure. Voyage, there is nothing else! ” When I ripped it out I did not live, or ever imagined I‘d live in Santa Fe.   That was the first time I had come across that article. I remembered it, and swore an oath to adventure ever since.   I memorialized the quote and have continued to look for new places to adventure and voyage.    Since 1982, I have called home behind 31 different doors, in only six different cities.

I realize Kenneth’s voyage metaphor was not about relocating, though moving has a definite adventure inside it, but more of an internal adventure, opening your own doors to unconventional, unacceptable, and unrealistic measures in the hopes that you discover real newness of vision.